Interior design firm Hirsch Bedner Associates completed a historical hotel preservation project and opened the Trump International Hotel, Washington, D.C., formerly the Old Post Office. Working with Ivanka Trump, HBA associate Betsy Hughes and her team of interior designers and architects restored the European-style building to its original glory, creating a 263-room five-star hotel.
The 118-year-old historic and castle-like structure is located between the Capitol Building and the White House. Using the building’s story as the design narrative, the space is defined by the architectural detailing of the clock tower, columns, archways and historic metal truss-work that spans the lobby. Designers used the framework as a support system for chandeliers that dot the public spaces.
The lobby faces the clock tower, reception and bar; it serves as the heart of the hotel, opening up to the nine-story atrium with glass skylights.
There are 263 guestrooms, seven of them created within the previous attic space, and featuring floor-to-ceiling skylights in the roof. The former postmaster’s offices were converted into four luxury suites. The largest of the group has restored wood-stained paneling, a fireplace and a reading nook in a turret. One suite is located in the clock tower with an arched window that HBA designers created a mezzanine around to keep from blocking the window. The Trump Townhouse suite has multiple stories and a private entrance from Pennsylvania Avenue.
The European-style suites have a color palette of creams, silvers and soft blues with pops of red and gold leaf trim along with crystal chandeliers. A standout feature is a canopied bed in the center of the bedroom.
Due to the historic restoration, each guestroom has a unique layout with distinct features. Arched windows on the upper floors offer views of the Capitol Building and Washington Monument, while historic columns were found and restored. Large bathrooms were built along the window walls of several rooms, while turrets, eaves, dormer windows and skylights are showcased within several guestrooms.
Canvas Art Consultants, the art consultancy division of HBA, also worked with the HBA interior design team and The Trump Organization. Canvas developed a guestroom and corridor art program that pays homage to the city’s history through a collection of imagery specifically assembled to reference various aspects of Washington D.C. and the Old Post Office. Visual elements include signed original watercolor renderings of the Clock Tower and renderings of gilded architectural details.
The main restaurant, BLT Prime by David Burke, is a two-story marble-clad box overlooking the lobby. The two private dining rooms have views overlooking the main arrival lobby. Two function rooms with high ceilings, original millwork and stained wood floors are found in the main building. The Lincoln Library has navy velvet drapes and Empire-style bronze pendants in one room, while the second has painted millwork, cream silk draperies and crystal chandeliers. A conference space is located in an existing building on 11th Street, the edifice of which was built as a shopping mall in the 1980s. It is now the largest luxury ballroom in Washington D.C., Presidential Ballroom, modeled after Mr. Trump’s Mar-a-Lago.
Illuminate Lighting Design, the architectural lighting firm from HBA, provided lighting design for the public areas, including the Congressional Bells Museum and BLT Prime by David Burke. A standout lighting feature includes an integrated custom bar detail that illuminates restored post offices boxes as a backdrop in Benjamin Bar & Lounge, highlighting the building’s history.